Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Rajon Rondo hits a different gear when he’s in the playoffs. He’s been mostly underwhelming since joining the Los Angeles Lakers and even had a bad game in his first playoff action for the team. However, he’s turned things around in the series against the Houston Rockets and his solidifying the fact that “Playoff Rondo” is a real thing.
Despite his struggles before the playoffs, there’s one loyal fan of Rondo who has endured and it’s the last person you’d expect. Michael Pina of GQ.com revealed that a 23-year old woman from Australia named Hayley. Pina did a Q&A with Hayley, who runs a very popular Rondo Instagram page, and she addressed the guard’s recent reemergence.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I see all the hate Rondo gets from the Lakers fans and that really annoys me,” she said. “I think he’s just the best player to watch in the NBA.”
Hayley Reveals How She Became a Rondo Fan
Rondo may seem like a random player to be a superfan of but there was a time when he was a perennial All-Star. Hayley explained to Pina how she became such a big fan:
“Back then a lot of people that didn’t know the game would’ve seen Rondo and think that’s a player you can watch all day,” she said. “And that was me.” In 2014, Hayley got a dog and named him Rondo. Two weeks later, the real Rondo was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, but her appreciation and admiration never wavered. Despite the time difference—NBA games air around 10 AM in Melbourne—she still watches every Boston game and most Rondo appearances after she gets home from work.
It’s certainly an unlikely path to Rondo fandom. One would think that a basketball fan from Australia would take a liking to a player like Ben Simmons. As surprising as it may be, there’s probably a superfan for every player out there.
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Hayley Believes Rondo Is Still Finding Role
Hayley knows about all things Rondo and knows what he needs to succeed. LeBron James has taken on the role of a point guard this season but Rondo has gotten some chances to run the offense and has had success.
“He’s obviously still figuring out what his role is, but when LeBron and AD have confidence in him I think he’s gonna be handing out heaps of assists like he is now,” Hayley said. “The three-pointer won’t always fall, as we know with Rondo, but he can still make huge plays.”
Her analysis of Rondo is spot on. He shouldn’t be shooting a lot but he’s still a really strong passer. He’s led the NBA in assists three times in his career for a reason. Despite getting up there in age, Rondo has figured out how to turn back the clock once again for the playoffs. Hopefully, for the Lakers, he’ll be able to sustain the success.